Beneath the shadow of the Rocky Mountains, John “Doc” Cheney peacefully passed on Feb. 5.
Born to Howard and Johanna Cheney August 22, 1930, Dr. Cheney, lived in Estes Park as a child and graduated from Estes Park High School. He worked for Steads Ranch and was a horse wrangler for tourists. He spent 4 years in the US Air Force, received his Bachelors of Science degree in 1958 from Colorado State University, and went on to complete his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine and Masters of Science degrees at CSU.
He was on the veterinary staff at CSU from 1960 to 1964 before pursing private practice in Benkelman, Neb., for two years and spending a year as a research veterinarian for the Monsanto Chemical Company. Research was his passion and the focus of his career. In 1967 he was recruited by CSU to be on a veterinary team in Nairobi, Kenya, as Colorado Chief of Party. Dr. Cheney took his wife and two daughters on a 5 year journey to Kenya where he, along with staff members from 4 other countries, taught at the veterinary college in Kabete, Kenya, and was instrumental in the development of a DVM degree program and numerous improvements in the livestock sector in Senegal. Besides the many friends he made through his experience in Kenya, Dr. Cheney and his family had the opportunity to enjoy numerous safaris on the African plains and visited many countries in Europe and Asia.
Upon returning to the United States, he took a teaching position at CSU in the School of Veterinary Medicine as head of the Parasitology Section in the Diagnostic Laboratory and became known to faculty, colleagues and students as “Doc.” He gave more than 42 years of service to CSU, retiring in August of 2005.
Dr. Cheney was the president of the Colorado Veterinary Medical Association from 1986 to 1987, and was a member and held the office of president with the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association, and the Larimer County Stockgrowers Association. Doc was an active member of the Larimer County Fair and Rodeo, assisting with the testing of 4-H animals, serving on the fair board, and being an avid supporter of the Larimer County FFA and 4-H Junior Livestock Sale. In 2004 Doc received an award from the Larimer County Fair Association for 14 years of dedicated service and, in 2005, was the grand marshall of the parade. Other notable awards include Colorado Veterinarian of the Year in 1988, Outstanding Veterinarian Award in 2002 from the Larimer County Veterinarian Medical Association, the Carl Norden Pfizer Distinguished Teachers Award in 2005 from Pfizer Animal Health, and the Lifetime Membership Award from the Larimer County Stockgrowers Association in 2009.
Dr. Cheney leaves behind his brother Robert Cheney (Lois), daughters Karen Hancock (Sam), and Dianne Cheney, granddaughter Aspen Hancock and grandson Dillon Hancock, nieces and nephews, great nieces and nephews, along with some four legged grandchildren and hopefully many herds of healthy cattle that benefited from his research.
A memorial service will be at 11 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 21, Allnutt Funeral Home chapel, 650 West Drake Rd, Fort Collins. In lieu of flowers, please send donations in memory of “Doc” Cheney to the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association, 8833 Ralston Rd, Arvada, CO 80002.
Visit www.allnutt.com to leave a message of condolence for the family.